Record deaths at sea: will ‘regional disembarkation’ help save lives?

Never has it been more dangerous for people in search of protection to make the crossing to Europe. The estimated death rate on boat migration journeys across the Mediterranean has risen from 4 per 1000 in 2015 to 24 per 1000 in the first four months of 2018, according to available data. While the death… Read more »

Popular Anti-Immigration Movements – and the Response of Democracy

All across Europe, we see growing opposition to immigration. Tough measures imposed by governments are limiting immigration but are not having the same effect on opposition to immigration. Mounting polarization is putting Europe’s democracies as well as European cooperation to the test. I recently visited Warsaw, and then travelled on to Berlin. The capitals of… Read more »

Will the “October Children” from Afghanistan Get Fair Treatment?

Is Norway’s asylum policy simply strict – or is it also fair and humane? In the coming weeks, approximately 200 young Afghans – the so-called “October children” – will have their cases re-assessed. Originally these children were granted temporary residence permits until they turned 18. Thereafter they were to be returned to life as internally… Read more »

How Far Should We Go to Stop Migration to Europe?

The police, the military and militia groups in Libya are keeping refugees away from Europe. Reports link this situation to funding from the EU and Italy. The money passes through intermediaries, but Europe must bear responsibility nevertheless for making the funds available. To restrict the numbers of refugees arriving from Africa, the EU and several… Read more »

Europe’s Quiet Offensive Against People Helping Refugees

A look back on three years since the end of Operation Mare Nostrum. Three years ago today, pressure by the European Union on Italy forced the end of one of the EU’s most successful humanitarian missions, Mare Nostrum, a search-and-rescue operation that in just one year brought 130,000 refugees safely to Europe’s shores. As the… Read more »

No-Man’s Land

In the north-eastern corner of Jordan, thousands of Syrians are left stranded. In the north-eastern corner of Jordan, where the country borders both Iraq and Syria, a barrier resembling a mound of earth extends across the desert. Running parallel to this barrier is a second mound of earth, this time within Syrian territory. The area… Read more »

Give Us Your Phone and We May Grant You Asylum

Images of refugees using smartphones have now become common in the Western media landscape, and everybody seems to have learned that refugees and migrants, too, use smartphones. Indicative of this awareness, European governments are now looking into how to make use of these assets in their identity checks and in the processing of asylum seekers’… Read more »

The End Of Migrants As We Know Them?

The UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants holds the promise of progress. But ahead of the summit, communications staff were pushing a warped view of migrant diversity. Even the International Organization of Migration (IOM) is straying from its mission to uphold the human dignity and well-being of migrants. When migration issues rose to the top of… Read more »

The Humanitarian Quest for Accountability: Examining the role of UNHCR

The European refugee crisis has been a difficult experience for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). On the one hand, UNHCR has been criticized by civil society and the humanitarian community for not being present on Greek islands. On the other hand, the organization has experienced difficulties in negotiating this access with Greek… Read more »